Cruise travel agents are being urged to nominate individuals and businesses for the Ace Awards 2011 that will handed out at the UK Cruise Convention in Southmpton.

The awards up for grabs are Ace agency of the year, cruise agent of the year, excellence in cruise innovation, and Ace contribution to cruise.

The Ace ambassador of the year accolade – the only one not based on nominations – will also be handed out at the conference.

For the first time, the winner of the ambassador of the year category will be based on support for Ace through media coverage, as well as through points accrued by completing Ace training.

The deadline for nominations is April 1. The awards will be handed out at the 2011 UK Cruise Convention, being held in Southampton from May 3 to 5.

Ace director Flo Powell said the awards could be used to help market agencies’ brands online. She urged agents who have never nominated themselves to put their names in the hat, adding: “Winners will get a trophy and a logo they can use on advertising.”

Details of this year’s awards, which are sponsored by Debbee Dale Development, are:

● Ace agency of the year: This award is given to the travel agency that has made the most progress in selling cruise innovatively and effectively. All levels of agency may nominate themselves for this award. Nominations should be up to 100 words on why the nominated agency should win.

● Cruise agent of the year: This award goes to the individual agent who has gone beyond the call of duty to highlight cruising and increase his or her own expertise. Agents may nominate themselves. Nominations should be no more than 100 words.

● Excellence in cruise innovation: This award is for a business or an individual who over the past year has demonstrated an innovative approach and generated awareness by focusing on new opportunities or broken into cruising for the first time. Again, nominations should be up to 100 words.

Meanwhile, Ace has also announced Mail Newspapers will be its first national media sponsor for the convention.